The Judge Dredd Guide to Parenting

In Mega-City One, there is one constant: Judge Joseph Dredd.

Cloned from the first chief judge, Eustace Fargo, Dredd’s growth was artificially accelerated. After his brain was electronically implanted with all the appropriate information he would need, he was “born” at age five, just in time to enter the Academy of Law.

Called the toughest school on Earth, it takes fifteen years to make it through the Academy. Judge Dredd was fast-tracked.

He made it through in thirteen.

He is by far the most famous street judge in Mega-City One, known for his unshakable devotion to the law and the swift and brutal punishment he brings to anyone who violates it.

What can he teach us about being a good parent?

I can think of five things.

Photo Credit:  Boyce Duprey

I am the law.

As a parent, you are the law.

You set the rules, not the child.

The rules are not put in place just because you like setting up rules. They are there for a purpose. It might be to keep the child safe from harm, like the standard “Don’t run with scissors.” It might be to teach your child good manners, like saying “please” and “thank you.”

When you set a rule, expect your child to ask, “Why?”

While you could easily say, “Because I am the law,” it’s better to explain why you want them to follow the rule.

You don’t run with scissors because you could trip and fall on them. You say “please” because in a civil society we ask for things rather than demand them.

If they understand why it exists, there’s a better chance they’ll follow it.

But when they don’t, there’s another role you must take on.

Judge. Jury. Executioner.

As a street judge, Dredd doesn’t just find criminals and bring them in. He judges them on the spot. If guilty, he assigns the punishment. If the punishment is death, he becomes the executioner.

In your house, you must be judge, jury, and executioner.

Not literally. You’re not going to kill your children.

But if you roll up on them violating a rule you set and explained to them, you must administer the punishment.

Don’t postpone it. Don’t pass it off to another.

You do it.

If you postpone it, you could forget it. And I guarantee your kid isn’t going to bring it up.

And if you pass it off, you’re sending the message to your child that they don’t have to listen to you because you’re not going to do anything about it.

They will not respect your authority.

Let them plead their case, but if you find them guilty, swift justice is required.

Photo Credit:  Boyce Duprey

Train your rookies.

In Dredd 3D, Judge Dredd is training rookie Judge Cassandra Anderson. She’s been through the Academy, but it’s up to Dredd to get her ready to be on her own.

As a parent, you can do the same thing with your children.

When you see an old friend, introduce them to your children. Expect your child to shake their hand and say something like, “I’m pleased to meet you.”

This type of training can happen prior to the meeting, like in a homeschool class on etiquette, or it can happen minutes before the introduction. Just go over what they are expected to do, and then walk them through it.

Other training opportunities include:

  • Give them the money for something they want at the store. Make them buy it, rather than throwing it in with your stuff.
  • Let them get their own library card, and have them take responsibility for late fees.
  • Make them save up for a big purchase, rather than buying it for them.
  • Have them sit in on the monthly budgeting process, so they understand how to manage their money.
  • Walk through the steps in changing a tire when one needs changed.
  • Let them tell a waiter or waitress their order, rather than ordering for them.

Most things you do daily and take for granted make great training exercises for your little rookie.  Take the time to put them through the paces and it will pay off later.

Photo Credit:  Boyce Duprey


Check out this scene from the 1995 disaster “Judge Dredd.”


That clip contains gold.

Gold so awful, it’s awesome.

Armand Assante’s over-the-top growl is unforgettable. Nearly twenty years later, people are not only talking about it, but making videos based on it.

This is my personal favorite.

Look for those moments in the time you spend with your children. Every once and a while an everyday event will produce something unexpected and memorable.

Appreciate it for what it is and laugh about it for years.

Don’t Be Daddy Dredd

I spend a lot of time behind the keyboard. When I’m not writing, or producing a video, or recording a podcast, I’m working around the house or trying to get something else done.

I am guilty of sometimes taking for granted the time I have with my kids.

I’m brutally reminded of this when one of my kids drops the “Chapin bomb” on me.

It’s a gut shot.

Sometimes when one of my kids asked me to do something and I tell them I don’t have time, they’ll walk away singing:

And the cats in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man n the moon.
When you comin home?
Son, I don’t know when. well get together then.
You know well have a good time then.

That brings it all home to me. (If you don’t know why, watch this.)

Judge Dredd only has time for one thing: the law.

Don’t do that. Don’t take it for granted.

I was playing with my son Jake one day. He was two at the time.

We were both laughing and I said, “I’m gonna miss you, Jake.”

My wife said to me, “What?”

I replied, “Soon, this guy will be gone and a man will be where he was. I’m gonna miss this.”

Remember, the cat’s in the cradle. Make time for something besides “the law.”


Photo Credit:  Mooshuu

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